ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNN) — Katie Filous was walking with four dogs Wednesday morning when gunshots rang out in her Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood.
Filous said she had just made it to Eugene Simpson Stadium Park when shooter James Hodgkinson opened fire at a group of Republican congressmen who were practicing for an upcoming bipartisan baseball game.
“One of the players ran over and started screaming, ‘There’s a guy with a rifle! Everyone needs to get down!'” Filous recalled.
Filous tightened her grip on the dogs as a Capitol Police special agent emerged from a nearby vehicle and began shouting and shooting back at Hodgkinson.
“I took that moment to decide that I had to crawl on my stomach and drag the dogs with me to the sidewalk,” Filous said.
It was during this exchange, when Daphane, a dog that Filous was dog-sitting for, got away from her.
Dog that went missing during Alexandria shooting reunited with family
Dog that went missing during Alexandria shooting reunited with family x
To avoid being caught in the cross-fire, Filous huddled underneath a car with the three remaining dogs until a man in a suit directed them to safety.
She remembers shouting to the man “one of my dogs ran away! We have to get her! We have to find her!”
As more details emerged about what had happened, Filous became more and more concerned about Daphane who was nowhere to be found.
“I couldn’t stop crying,” Filous, 29, said. “It felt like a family member was missing.”
She and her husband looked for help on social media while distributing missing posters online. People from across the area joined in on the search for the 11-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.
“We roved for hours and hours and hours. We ran through the woods. We ran through people’s backyards,” Filous said.
Nearly 19 hours later an Alexandria Police officer found Daphane, timid and thirsty, two miles away from the park.
Filous described going to pick her up from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.
“She kind of walked by us and I said ‘Daphane?’ and she stopped, and her whole body started shaking, and she ran over to me, and I hugged and her we sat like that for a while,” Filous said. “I was so relieved.”
Later that same day Daphane was returned to her owner who had since come home to a city on high alert after the shooting incident.
“I’m quite overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of interest and concern and effort that total strangers went into finding one missing dog,” said owner Danielle Pierotti, 46, with Daphane by her side.
“I really think that what it says is that we as human beings want to care about each other and we want to be connected,” Pierotti said. “We’re searching for ways in this really divisive and complicated world that when we can find something we agree with — like a lost dog — people are eager to do that.”
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.